Monday, 8 October 2012

8. NZ Private schools and charities

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Why look into private schools?

Advancing education is a charitable purpose in both NZ and Australia, so in most cases schools can register as charities.

The new legislation for the Australian Not-for-profits Commission is likely to contain a concession for private (non-government) schools that are registered charities.  Instead of reporting financial information to the charity regulator, the regulator must accept the financial information they report to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).  Some of that financial information is already publicly available for 10,000 schools on the Australian MySchool site.

In NZ, state and integrated schools provide the Ministry of Education with annual audited accounts and the results are published on an education counts website.  Private schools are listed on this site but they do not provide financial accounts to the Ministry of Education.  However, a number of private schools are also registered charities, so their financial information is available on the NZ charities register.  What insight into private schools does that information provide?


11,773 registered charities record children as one of their beneficiaries.  1,079 of these registered charities have “school” or “college” in their name.  This includes a range of organisations including 100 Parent Teachers Associations, private schools as well as state and integrated schools, pre-school and after school programmes, schools of dance, music and other activities.

According to the education counts website there are 88 private schools in NZ.  63 (72%) of these private schools are either registered charities (41) or have related entities that are registered charities (22).  The balance of 25 schools do not appear to be registered charities or have related parties that are registered charities.

The 63 private schools that were registered charities or had associated registered charities recorded total gross income of $362m.  This is made up of $272m income from providing services / trading, $32m government grant income and $9m donation income.  ‘Other income’ was $43m however this includes $21m investment income for the Dilworth Trust Board, one of NZ’s largest charities.  Dilworth Trust Board provides funding to Dilworth School, a private boarding school for boys who are all on full scholarships that cover all education and boarding costs.

Total expenditure was primarily made up of salaries ($200m) and the cost of trading and providing services ($108m).

The top three schools ranked by gross income are St. Kentigern Trust ($40m), The King's College Trustees ($28m) and Kristin School Charitable Trust ($26m).  The top three schools ranked by total assets are Dilworth Trust Board ($393m), Christ's College Canterbury ($105m), and St. Kentigern Trust ($86m).

Total assets for the 63 private schools amount to $1.3b.  This includes $157m land, $467m buildings and $447m investments.  Land and buildings are generally valued at cost in the special purpose financial accounts filed with the charities regulator, far less than their current realisable value.

It is possible to calculate a number of ratios by comparing income or expenditure to the decile or the total school role.  For example, to get an (approximate) insight into the investment made in staff, divide the total salary cost by the total school role.  This shows that the highest salary ratio per pupil was Ambury Park Centre for Riding Therapy ($645,083 / 37 = $17,435) followed by Dilworth School ($10.4m / 565 = $18,474), Selwyn House School ($3.3m / 187 = $17,585) and Wanganui Collegiate School ($7.2m / 415 = $17,311).  The lowest salary ratio per pupil was Destiny School ($423,838 / 180 = $2,355) followed by Tyndale Park Christian School ($446,000 / 118 = $3,780) and Pukekohe Christian School ($815,762 / 209 = $3,903).  It is worth noting that some schools did not provide salary information in either their financial accounts or their return to the charities regulator, despite the return to the charities regulator specifically requesting this information (for example, Scots College Incorporated).

A number of schools have charitable foundations which are separate funding entities.  The largest are Wanganui Collegiate School Foundation ($4.5m assets), St Peter's School Foundation ($4.4m), The St Andrew's College Foundation ($5.9m), King's School Foundation ($5.5m), King's College Foundation ($15.1m), and the Diocesan School Heritage Foundation ($5.9m).

Donations to private schools that are registered charities total $9.4m.  The top 3 were Kings College Trustees ($1.5m), Kings School Auckland ($1m) and St Kentigern Trust ($809k).


Schools are highly regulated and subject to much public scrutiny, so the risk that they are failing to conduct charitable activities or that they have poor governance is very low compared to most other entities on the register. 

It would be interesting to find out the extent to which the school fees can be substituted as ‘donations’ in order to qualify for donation tax credits.  However this issue is not just limited to private schools.

It was surprising to find that over one quarter of private schools had not registered as charities and had no associated entities that were registered  charities, so presumably some may be for-profit and do not qualify as charities.  Alternatively, the tax benefits of charitable status simply may not be considered enough to warrant registration and public disclosure of information.

Finally, it would be possible to cross-match financial information with other data (such as pupil numbers and deciles) to create league tables which could be used to compare and assess the schools.  However the reasons for the outlier results – such as Destiny School with its very low teacher salary to pupil ratio – would need to be clarified with the charity before drawing any final conclusions.


Because the charities register does not require information to be provided about related parties, it is possible that some school foundations or schools themselves have registered as charities under different names which have not been identified in this analysis.

Appendix 1

Here is the list of 25 private schools which I could not identify as being registered charities or being associated with registered charities:

1.       ACG New Zealand International College
2.       ACG Parnell College
3.       ACG Senior College
4.       ACG Strathallan
5.       ACG Sunderland
6.       Amana Christian School
7.       Cambridge International College
8.       Carey College
9.       Chapman College
10.    Gloriavale Christian Community School
11.    Hohepa Home School (Napier)
12.    Immanuel Christian School
13.    Jean Seabrook Memorial School
14.    Manukau Christian School
15.    MindAlive
16.    Odyssey House School (Auckland)
17.    Pacific Christian School
18.    Seven Oaks School
19.    St Anthony's School (Wanganui)
20.    St Dominic's College
21.    St George's Preparatory School
22.    St Mark's Church School (Mt Victoria)
23.    The Bridge Academy
24.    Upper Valley Middle School
25.    Westmount School

Appendix 2

Here are the schools and registered charities identified for this analysis.

Ambury Park Centre for Riding Therapy

Ambury Park Centre For Riding Therapy Incorporated

Ambury Park Riding For Disabled Foundation
Auckland International College

Auckland International College Education Trust
Carncot School

Carncot Private School Trust

Friends Of Carncot Incorporated

Carncot School Parents Association
Chilton St James School

Chilton Saint James School
Christ's College

Christ's College Canterbury

Youth Education Trust
City Impact Church School
City Impact Church School (Secondary)

City Impact Church Education Limited

City Impact Church Queenstown Education Limited

City Impact Church School Limited
Destiny School

Destiny School
Dilworth School

Dilworth Trust Board

School Aid: Global Partnerships through Schools
Diocesan School For Girls

Diocesan School For Girls

The Diocesan Sailing Club Incorporated

Diocesan School Heritage Foundation
Drury Christian School

Drury Church Trust
Ficino School

Ficino Educational Trust

Ficino Educational Foundation
Golden Grove School

Golden Grove School Trust (no returns filed)
Hamilton Christian School

Hamilton Christian Schools Incorporated
Hebron Christian College (Auckland)

Hebrons Mission Centre Charitable Trust
Hereworth School

The Hereworth School Trust Board

Hereworth Foundation
Huanui College

 Huanui College Charitable Trust 
Huntley School (Marton)

 The Huntley School Board Of Trustees

 The Huntley School Endowment Trust

 Parents and Friends of Huntley School Charitable Trust
Hutt Valley Christian School

 Hutt Valley Christian School Fundraising Committee 
Kings College

The King's College Trustees

King's College Foundation

King's College Old Collegians Association Incorporated

King's College Rowing Club Incorporated

King's College Sports And Culture Association

King's College Trust

Association of the Friends of King's College Incorporated
Kings School (Remuera)

King's School, Auckland

King's School Foundation

King's School Old Boys' Association Incorporated

Eric and Winsome Calder Trust

J.R. Morris Trust Fund

Larner Scholarship Trust

The King's School Endowment Trust

The Friends of King's School Incorporated
Kristin School

Kristin School Charitable Trust

The Kristin Foundation
Living Way Learning Centre

Living Way Learning Centre Trust
Matahui Road School

Matahui Road School Charitable Trust
Medbury Preparatory School

Medbury School Foundation

Medbury School Trust Board
Motueka Rudolf Steiner School

 The Motueka Rudolf Steiner School Trust
Mt Hobson Middle School

Villa Education Trust
Nelson College (Prep.Dept.)
Nelson College For Girls Prep School

Nelson College for Girls Preparatory School Incorporated

Nelson College for Girls Old Girls Association Incorporated

Nelson College for Girls Parent Teacher Association

Nelson College for Girls Trust Foundation
Nga Kakano Christian Reo Rua Kura

 Nga Kakano O Te Kaihanga Trust 
Nova Montessori School

Nova Montessori Centre Charitable Trust
Otamatea Christian School

Otamatea Education Trust Board

Otamatea High School Parent Teacher and Citizen Association
Pinehurst School

Pinehurst School Incorporated
Pukekohe Christian School

Pukekohe Christian School Trust
Queen Margaret College

Queen Margaret College Incorporated

Queen Margaret College Foundation Trust 2005

Queen Margaret College Old Girls Association  Incorporated

Queen Margaret College Parents' Association Incorporated

ASBA (NZ) Limited
Rangi Ruru Girls' School

Rangi Ruru Girls' School Board of Governors Incorporated

Rangi Ruru Old Girls' Association Incorporated

Rangi Ruru PTA

Rangi Ruru Trust
Rangitaiki Independent School

Rangitaiki Independent School Trust
Samuel Marsden Collegiate School

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School Trust Board
Samuel Marsden Collegiate School -Whitby
Scots College

Scots College Incorporated

Scots College Foundation

Scots College Parents Association Incorporated
Selwyn House School

Selwyn House School Trust Board

Selwyn House Old Girls Association Incorporated
Silverstream Christian School

Reformed Christian School Association

Silverstream Christian School Fundraising Committee
Southwell School

Southwell School Board

Southwell School Association

Southwell School Foundation Trust

Southwell School Old Boys' and Girls' Association Incorporated

The Hedon Loop Trust
Springbank School

Springbank School Trust
St Andrew's College (Christchurch)

St Andrew's Presbyterian College Board Of Governors Incorporated

St Andrew's College Old Collegians (Incorporated)

St Andrews College Parent Teacher Association Incorporated

The St Andrew's College Foundation
St Cuthbert's College (Epsom)

St Cuthbert's College Educational Trust Board

A.U. Wells St. Cuthbert's College Trust Fund
St Kentigern College (Pakuranga)
St Kentigern Primary School (Remuera)
St Kentigern School for Girls - Corran

St. Kentigern Trust

St Kentigern College Rowing Club Incorporated
St Margaret's College

The St Margarets College Trust Board

Saint Margaret's College Endowment Fund

St Margaret's College Foundation

St Margarets College Parents and Friends Association Incorporated
St Michael's Church School

St Michael's Church School Board
St Paul's Collegiate (Hamilton)

St Paul's Collegiate School Association Incorporated
St Peter's School (Cambridge)

St Peter's School Trust Board

St Peter's School Alumni Incorporated

St Peter's School Foundation
The Cathedral Grammar School

Christchurch Cathedral Grammar School Trust Board

The Cathedral Grammar Foundation

The Cathedral Grammar School For Girls Trust
The Corelli School

The Corelli Foundation (no returns filed)
Titirangi Rudolf Steiner High School
Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School

Rudolf Steiner Schools (Titirangi) Trust Board
Tyndale Park Christian School

Tyndale Park Christian School Trust
Waihi School

Waihi School Association Inc

Waihi School Foundation
Wanganui Collegiate School

The Whanganui College Board of Trustees

The Wanganui Collegiate School Old Boy's Life Members Trust Fund

Wanganui Collegiate School Foundation

Wanganui Collegiate School Memorial Fund

Wanganui Collegiate School Museum Trust

Wanganui Collegiate School Old Boys And Girls Association Incorporated
Wellesley College

The Wellesley College Foundation

Wellesley College Parents' Association Incorporated
Wentworth College

Wentworth College Education Charitable Trust

The Wentworth Sailing and Outdoor Pursuits Club Incorporated
Wentworth Primary

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